Project: Getting to know your camera

Exercise: Focal length and angle of view - all cameras

The goal of this exercise is to discover how the focal length of the lens influences the angle of view of the camera. The camera I use is a Nikon D7000, which doesn't have a full frame sensor, and has a focal length multiplier of 1.5. This means the focal length in which the view through my lense is just the same as my eye view should be about 75 mm. Through this exercise I experienced how the focal point changes when using different focal lengths.

I bought a 50 mm nikkor lens together with my camera and thought this would be a good exercise to start using it. But somehow, with the manual focusing, I didn't seem to get the picture sharp enough with a low aperture, so I used my 18-105 mm instead. Now I realize that since I haven't got a full frame camera, it might change the functionality of the lens as well. But back to focal length.

I did the exercise in the evening and had to remind myself a few times that it was not about getting the lighting right, but focus on the focal length! First I zoomed in without checking the focal length and indeed, around 75mm what I saw through the camera and my own view were about the same. Then I set the lens on its widest view, which is 18mm, making everything look smaller and after that at its furthest view, 105mm, making the objects appear bigger.

I redid that about 5 times, because my images never turned out straight, so I learned that I need to get a better tripod as well!. But finally, here are the results!

I printed them and stood at exactly the same spot from where I took the photographs. Looking at the standard print, I measured that I had to hold it about 75mm away to make it appear to be the same view as the real scene. The distances between my eyes and the other images corresponded as well with the focal length of the lens when I took the photograph. 

Through this exercise I have put into practice what I theoretically knew about focal lengths, which makes me even more aware of what I am doing with my lens when zooming it in or out, or when I put on a different standard lens.